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Bob Dylan 960703a by Andrew Muir

Subject: Germany 1-3 July
From: Andrew Muir (
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 1996 14:48:40 +0100
Another year, another visit to my good friends Chris, Stephan and
Daniel. This time with the ubiquitous Josh Nelson alongside.  Two
contrasting nights at Liverpool (I disliked the first - altogether too
competent without being exciting, the antithesis of a Dylan show,
predictable in the extreme. The second I thought was much improved,
without being sensational, without reaching, say, Glasgow 1995
standards.) were followed by a better-than-expected Hyde Park
On to Germany, arriving in time to watch their football side win the
European Nations Cup against all the odds; a truly courageous tournament
then it was "Bobby, Bobby, Bobby........."  
Munster, Germany
         July 1, 1996
         Drifter's Escape
         Shake Sugaree
         All Along The Watchtower
         Simple Twist Of Fate
         It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
         Boots Of Spanish Leather (acoustic) 
         John Brown (acoustic)
         Mama, You Been On My Mind (acoustic)
         Maggie's Farm
         Ballad Of A Thin Man
         Obviously Five Believers 
         Alabama Getaway 
         It Ain't Me Babe (acoustic)
         Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35
Munster is, apparently, a lovely place but the venue is tucked away in a
drab industrial region; still luckily for us our long drive was rewarded
with a splendid restaurant in the venue.
Some people seemed to love this show but I wasn't very impressed with my
first night on this mini-tour. I'd place it somewhere between the first
and last Liverpool shows. It kicked off with a chaotic Drifter's Escape,
cocked-up as only Bob can cock things up. He was all over the place,
beginning verses just as Jackson's guitar was ending them!
I really liked Shake Sugaree though, not just because I'd never heard
him sing it before - it sounded a lovely song and very expressively
sung.  I can't remember anything about Watchtower or Silvio (thankfully)
but  in-between them we had a tender Simple Twist Of Fate and a great,
rocking  It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry.  Although
these were very good indeed this was as good as it got.
The acoustic set was OK - aren't they always?  But he usually does Mama,
You Been On My Mind better and it now has the identical tune to Don't
Think Twice.  In fact I think Bob is gravitating towards having one
acoustic and one electric song and just giving them different names:
Mama You Been On My Mind/Don't Think Twice/It Ain't Me Babe/Girl Of The
North Country  etc.
Maggie's Farm/Ballad Of A Thin Man/Obviously Five
Believers/Tombstone/Takes A Lot To Laugh....
Encoring with an amalgam of Silvio/Alabama Getaway
& the acoustic song again.
Maggie's passed by and then Bob started Ballad Of A Thin Man which he'd
played so magnificently in Liverpool. I'm sure he was going to attempt
that same version but, unfortunately, he lost the words and went into a
sulk with himself. It was dire. Obviously Five Believers picked things
up slightly before the all too predictable encores.  I felt like the
year since I'd been in Germany had not passed for Bob, it was more or
less the same stuff. He seemed a bit distant but maybe that was just me.
   Mannheim, Germany
   July 2, 1996
   Mozartsaal im Rosengarten
   1.   Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood) 
   2.   Pretty Peggy-O 
   3.   All Along The Watchtower 
   4.   I'll Be Your Baby Tonight 
   5.   Man In The Long Black Coat 
   6.   Silvio 
   7.   Ballad Of Hollis Brown (acoustic) 
   8.   Gates Of Eden (acoustic) 
   9.   To Ramona (acoustic) 
  10.  Everything Is Broken 
  11.  What Good Am I? 
  12.  Seeing The Real You At Last
  13.  Alabama Getaway 
  14.  My Back Pages (acoustic) 
  15.  Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 
This was a superb venue - both outside and inside. Designed for Opera
and Ballet the hall is magnificent both acoustically and for ease of
viewing the stage.  Thankfully Dylan made the most of this opportunity.
It was great to hear so many variations from the night before, it would
take someone as churlish as myself to pine for the yet unheard This
Wheel's On Fire!
A chaotic opening song again and again followed by a great choice for
the second: Pretty Peggy-O. Go Bobby Go.  There were many other
highlights: principally a magnificent acoustic set (even though Gates Of
Eden's *last* verse began with "the motor-cycle Black Madonna") and a
moving What Can I Do For You.  Everything Is Broken was instantly
forgettable and I only wish Seeing The Real You At Last was too...Still
it was my favourite show so far (Liverpool second night *may* have been
better  but I am really not sure and I certainly enjoyed this one more).
A strong My Back Pages saved the usual encores from being a total waste
of time. (It also featured the only harp solo of the night - a good one
too, so much more effective than just throwing them in all over the
   Konstanz, Germany
   July 3, 1996
   Zeltfestival (Tent Festival)
   1.   Crash On The Levee (Down In The Flood) 
   2.   I Want You 
   3.   All Along The Watchtower 
   4.   Shelter From The Storm 
   5.   Watching The River Flow 
   6.   Silvio 
   7.   Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic) 
   8.   Masters Of War (acoustic) 
   9.   One Too Many Mornings (acoustic) 
  10.  Maggie's Farm (V) 
  11.  I'll Remember You 
  12.  Everything Is Broken (G, V) 
  13.  Alabama Getaway 
  14.  The Times They Are A-Changin' (acoustic) (V) 
  15.  Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (H,V,G) 
(H) Dave Matthew's horn player played saxophone on this song
(V) Dave Matthew's violinist played on this song
(G) Dave Matthews on guitar 
This is one of the strangest shows I've been to: a boring set list, a
very indifferent performance from Dylan for most of the show but
immensely entertaining and fun by the end.
Back to the beginning though and there was a promising start as Dylan
and the band actually played the same song for the opener, a very nice I
Want You and as-good-as-it-can-get-under-the-circumstances Watchtower
augured well. But there was something wrong with his voice, I'm not sure
if he had a cold or was hoarse from over-touring but he couldn't pull
off the tender Shelter version that he was aiming for and the show
dipped alarmingly with a turgid Watching The River Flow and a worse-
than-normal (if that is possible) Silvio.  
The worst Mr. Tambourine Man I've heard was followed by the most boring
Masters of War.  I was glumly thinking that it will probably be my last
show for about a year and I hadn't liked anything apart from the second
song when.....but first a digression...
(I should point out that other people loved every song on this show
without exception, but I can only tell it as it felt and I think they
were carried away by the setting and atmosphere.  The setting was a tiny
tent perched on a beautiful lakeside - the atmosphere was one of intense
and unrestrained appreciation of Dylan - no-one in the crowd could be
described as far away and they certainly responded to the intimate
....back on to the songs....Dylan finally stretched his voice -
hesitantly at first, then with more confidence on One Too Many Mornings.
Things were looking up, though my interest was dimmed by the opening
chords of Maggie's Farm. I should not have despaired - help was at hand
from an unlikely source.
Now anyone who knows me will vouch for me being the most anti-guests on
stage with Bob of people.  I booed George Harrison in '87 'cos I was
annoyed he was sharing a mic with Bob. But it was a guest who saved this
show, someone I don't even know the name of. He is the electric violin
player from the supporting Dave Mathews Band.  A cool dude he is too, a
tall, muscular black man with a huge grin and an extrovert stage
presence; he bounded on the stage and suddenly Bob had to wake up. Here
was someone on stage who not only was attracting the audience's eyes
from Dylan but who could also play like fury and had no inhibitions
about showing it. Maggie's really took off and ended in a duet/duel
between Dylan's guitar and the tall Dude's manic violin.  I've no idea
how it will come across on tape but it was great to be there and see the
sheer joy in Dylan's face at this time. The audience went potty, Dylan
high-fived the violinist and we were into a run of the mill I'll
Remember You.  A dire Everything Is Broken followed, Dave Mathews
himself on guitar but probably as unfamiliar with the song as Dylan
appeared to be, only to be transformed half way through when the
violinist came back on. A huge grin split Dylan's face and they were off
again. Dylan revelling in having a musician on-stage who played for
playing's sake and, although clearly admiring Bob, was not the kind of
guy to pay deference on stage.
A god-awful (is there any other kind) Alabama Getaway followed; a more
fitting tribute o the terminally Dead even I could not wish for.  Then
the highlight of the night as the violinist re-appeared for a stunning
The Times they Are A-Changin'.  Again I do not know how it will come
across on tape but my word - what a spectacle.  After spending a verse
or so familiarising himself with the arrangement the violinist upped the
ante. Dylan responded with vocals and guitar; the two of them egging
each other on. Then Dylan grabs a harmonica and starts his walk around
the centre stage.  The violinist takes this as a cue to circle Dylan,
playing ever louder and faster. Dylan responds by re-doubling his harp
playing while moving to the violinist's (Jackson's mic) as the demented
violinist took centre stage. The two then came together, warily at first
like two nervous fencers, before meeting up again at the centre mic for
a blistering en to the song.  By this time the crowd could probably be
heard in about 5 central European countries and the whole thing ended
with a completely over the top Rainy Day Women with both bands on stage
and crashing guitars competing with sax, violin and Dylan's voice in a
wild orgy of sound.
Never have I seen Dylan so happy on stage, more hugs and high fives
followed for the guests.  Exit to fantastic applause. 
So  there you have it - a fun end to my little trip and a show that was
at best mediocre ends up leaving me happy and smiling.  'Till next time,
thanks again, Bob.
Andrew Muir

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